Frank Cho has been kicking around the comic book world for many years. Known more for his stylized art than his writing, this month Cho steps up to the scripting plate with Savage Wolverine #1. I’ve been very harsh on the current use of the most popular mutant of all time. I disliked Jason Aaron’s run on Wolverine and have lukewarm feelings about the current creative team. I hated Wolverine Max and have little use for Wolverine running around playing principal. So the idea of another Wolverine book didn’t excite me.
Savage Wolverine #1 is a nice surprise. It takes our hero out of his normal arena and plants him in the Savage Land. Cho is smart, he hooks us in with a two-fold attack. First, a crashed SHIELD transport containing several officers and jungle heroine Shanna. The Savage Land is a forbidden area that’s overseen by a giant mountain that looks strangely like Cthulhu. The second strike comes with Wolverine, who appears there from a strange blast of light.
Waking up with no memory of how he arrived in the Savage Land, Wolverine gets right down to business. He kills a pterodactyl, battles natives, buries a SHIELD agent, teams up with Shanna and gets dropped from a few miles up by a reaper. It’s the kind of Wolverine adventure we’ve been missing for awhile. Action and adventure abound with refreshing lack of mutant drama, trips to hell or family fights. With a character so involved with so many books in the Marvel Universe, it’s nice to see Wolverine stretching his snikt snikt muscles this way.
Another aspect that makes Savage Wolverine work is that it doesn’t take place in Wolverine’s past. Since his memories returned to him, most comics outside the standard Marvel Universe involve uncovering Wolverine’s past, which gets boring quickly. Cho also has the rhythms of the character down nicely, so the dialog flows with the action.
Cho’s art is an acquired to taste for some. To me, it’s a great kickback to comic art from the '70s and '80s. There’s a bit of Neal Adams in what Cho does, but the art never strays into imitation. Cho isn’t much for backgrounds and he tends to have characters clench their teeth when expressing anger, but his basic, stripped down style works for this story.
Savage Wolverine #1 is a good start. Let’s hope Cho can keep it up.
(4 Story, 3 Art)